Here in New York we are in the midst of maple syrup season! 🍁🌙🍁
March 18th-19th and March 25th-26th are “Maple Weekends” where you can visit local farms to see how maple syrup is made, have a pancake breakfast, and eat a bit of sweet maple candy.
As a folk witch, I enjoy connecting with the local land and its lore, as well as learning about the magical properties of the beautiful plant spirits who are part of the ecosystem. I wanted to share with you the Mohawk legend of maple syrup to honor the beautiful maple trees who give us this delicious treat this time of year and my Mohawk ancestor Ots Toch. After all, we should not forget that it was the Native Americans who taught European settlers how to tap maple trees and make the syrup we all love! 🍁
MOHAWK MAPLE SYRUP LEGEND:
“Long ago, when human beings were new in the eastern part of Turtle Island, they barely lived through the long winters, their bodies and spirits weakened by the cold and dark. Though they worked to gather and preserve enough food for the winter it was not enough to keep them well and strong. The Creator saw the sadness of the people so he decided to ask the tree nation if there was something which could be done to restore their happiness.
The leader of the trees, the maple, offered to give its blood to the people so they may be restored to good health. So it was, that at the end of the winter months the sap flowed freely from the maple. The sap was dark and sweet, a syrup which the people drank after putting basswood tubes into the trees so the precious fluid went into their pots almost without effort. Satisfied that the people were once again happy and strong the Creator left to attend to his duties in other worlds.
Some time passed before the Creator was able to return to this world. It was once again the end of winter with snow still on the ground. He went to one of the villages only to find it empty, the longhouses cold with only ashes in the fire pits. He saw that there were tracks leading into the nearby woods which he followed. Soon he came upon a maple bush and there, scattered about on the ground were the people, with wooden tubes connecting the maples and their mouths. They were drinking the syrup from the trees until they could no longer stand. Even their dogs were laying on the ground, their paws raised to the sky with their own tubes into the trees. The Creator saw that the people were ragged and the children uncared for. He was very upset
He aroused them from their slumber and said that he would change the way in which the syrup was to be taken from the trees. No longer would it flow brown and thick but the people would have to make offerings to the maples, tap its sap and then work to make it into syrup and then sugar. By doing so they would come to appreciate this great gift.”
George-Kanentiio, Doug (2011, May 10). A Mohawk Legend: The Origins of Maple Syrup and Sugar. https://gcvblogblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/a-maple-syrup-origin-story/
I also wanted to share the special magical properties of maple. Maple trees are said to protect against evil spirits but also to have a gentle and loving nature. Maple branches are often used to make talking sticks because of their gentleness.
Maples are considered to be very wise, provide spiritual healing, open doors to the unseen worlds, and help with decision making. Maple is used in love magic, moon magic, abundance spells, healing spells, and divination.
When I connect to maple, she feels like a friend I could tell my troubles to. Someone who would have an open ear, a kind word, sage advice, and a sweet embrace – if not a bit sappy in the best of ways lol!
MAPLE SYRUP RELEASE SPELL:
One idea for maple syrup in your magic would be to lovingly ask the spirit of the maple syrup to soothe something that is troubling you and shift it into something sweet – a positive outcome.
- Get a small glass vial (Visit the Dollar Tree for a pack of small vials for only $1.25).
- On a small piece of paper write what is troubling you or draw a symbol for it.
- Roll up the small piece of paper, put it in your vial and fill the vial with maple syrup. Maple syrup is expensive – hence the small vial!
- Close the top tightly and take the vial in your hand.
- Place it right against your heart and firmly speak your troubles to the beautiful spirit of the maple. Ask her lovingly to shift what is bothering you or to provide you with the healing, wisdom or change in perspective needed to move forward. Ask that what is sour is transformed into something sweet like the maple syrup.
- Thank the loving and gentle spirit of the maple syrup. Take a moment to pour your love into the vial as an offering to the beautiful spirit of the maple tree who gifted the sap to make the syrup.
- Place the vial on your altar and feed the spirit of the maple syrup through lighting a candle (you can get a 7-day candle also at the Dollar Tree for $1.25) for at least three evenings (a couple of hours each night should do it – don’t leave the candle lit overnight). Continue to set your intentions and give gratitude each day you light the candle.